A 30-member study committee recommended Monday that the Iroquois Central School Board reopen West Elma Primary School as part of a reorganization to eliminate overcrowding in kindergarten through Grade 5.
The school, closed in 1983 due to declining enrollment, currently houses the district's central offices, and space is rented out to other tenants such as senior citizens and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
A special community meeting to explain the recommendations of the committee, which spent 12 months studying the overcrowding problem, will be held in the Middle School at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The School Board is expected to make a final decision on whether to implement the recommendations at its Jan. 28 meeting.
If the committee's recommendations are adopted by the board, efforts would be made to relocate tenants in other district facilities.
The committee's plan calls for the central offices and all fourth- and fifth-graders to be moved to Elma Elementary School on the Girdle Road campus.
Keeping all fourth- and fifth-graders together will give them a sense of unity at a younger age and an opportunity to make friends before entering the Middle School, the panel said.
To avoid redistricting for the next three to four years, Wales and Marilla elementary schools would be designated as kindergarten through third-grade buildings to "maintain the local school concept" and keep "the current length of bus rides for any child."
Committee members said West Elma could be reopened at a cost of $50,000, compared with a cost of $120 per square foot to build a new school for up to 250 pupils.
School Superintendent Lawrence Pereira, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Larry Bishop and Business Administrator Richard Binner said reopening costs could include cafeteria expenses between $3,000 and $29,000, depending on where the food is prepared; equipment such as teachers' desks and chairs at a cost of $550 each; supplies for the nurse's office; audio-visual equipment; supplies for the principal's office, and moving expenses.
The move would take place between July 1 and Aug. 15. A playground, which could cost up to $10,000, also would be needed.
The committee pointed out the possibility that a parent-teacher group could raise the money and build the playground and that the cafeteria fund could cover the cost of a lunch program.
A subcommittee should be formed to study the transportation routes to keep the length of the bus routes short for the younger children, the committee's report said.
The study also recommended a full-time administrator for the school, adequate nursing and secretarial personnel, special support teachers and computer education.
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